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Eric Smith, MD, PhD

Hematology/Oncology; Medical Oncology

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Eric Smith, MD, PhD


  • Director of Translational Research, Immune Effector Cell Therapies
  • Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Contact Information


Eric Smith, MD PhD, moved to Boston after spending the early part of his career in New York. He earned his MD and PhD (Genetics and Genomic Sciences) from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he also trained as a research track resident in internal medicine. He then moved to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for medical oncology fellowship and further research training. Post-fellowship he stayed on at MSKCC serving as faculty in the Center for Cell Engineering, Cellular Therapeutics Center, and the Myeloma Service before joining DFCI. Dr. Smith's pre-clinical work has resulted in many awarded or pending patents; multiple cell therapy products stemming from his lab work have been translated to the clinic. Outside of lab he enjoys spending time outdoors biking, hiking, swimming, or skiing with his wife and two daughters.

Board Certification:

  • Internal Medicine
  • Medical Oncology


  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


  • Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Internal Medicine

Medical School:

  • Mount Sinai School of Medicine


The dual-mission of the Smith Lab for Gene and Cell Engineering is (1) to design and evaluate in the lab novel approaches to advance the field of adoptive cellular therapy, and (2) to rapidly translate these therapies from our lab to treat patients with the greatest need.
Our lab team is focused on advancing the field of adoptive cellular immunotherapy, and rapidly translating new treatments for patients with otherwise limited options. Having trained at Memorial Sloan Kettering at a time when the first CD19 targeted CAR T cell therapy trial for adults with relapsed/refractory B cell ALL was ongoing, Dr. Smith was inspired to develop novel CAR T cell vectors that would extend this therapeutic modality beyond those with CD19+ malignancies. His early work identified targets and developed novel CAR designs to treat Multiple Myeloma. Trials investigating vectors stemming from this work and the work of many others demonstrate that CAR T cell therapy can induce frequent and deep remissions for patients with relapsed/refractory hematologic malignancies, however, relapse is still far to common.
Dr. Smith’s lab studies current challenges in the gene and cell therapy field including mechanisms of relapse and extending therapies to new indications such as solid tumors. With advancing technologies in gene and cell therapies Dr. Smith’s lab not only designs new virally encoded CARs but also engineers new therapies using CRISPR and mRNA as backbones.
In an effort to overcome the limitations of current adoptive cellular therapies, we study murine models and patient samples to better understand the biology of T cells, tumor cells, and the microenvironment underlying these resistance mechanisms. Jumping off from these results and the works of others, our main focus is to design and evaluate novel genetically modified immune effector cell therapy and mRNA approaches. Capitalizing on our prior experience, we rapidly translate the most promising for clinical investigation.

The Future of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy. Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2023 Jul 11.
View in: PubMed

CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy in Waldenström macroglobulinemia: a preclinical model and initial clinical experience. J Immunother Cancer. 2022 02; 10(2).
View in: PubMed

Chimeric Antigen Receptor-Modified Immune Effector Cell Therapies: Learning From the Present; Charting a Path to the Future. Cancer J. 2021 Mar-Apr 01; 27(2):90-91.
View in: PubMed

Multiple Myeloma, Targeting B-Cell Maturation Antigen With Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cells. Cancer J. 2019 May/Jun; 25(3):208-216.
View in: PubMed

Chimeric antigen receptors for the adoptive T cell therapy of hematologic malignancies. Int J Hematol. 2014 Apr; 99(4):361-71.
View in: PubMed


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